Blog Archives for January 2018

CELERINA: Quackery with Cocaine

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 19, 2018

“Celerina” was a medicine dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, originally of secret formulation, sold as a nerve tonic and cure-all.

Odd Season

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 19, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Yesterday, The Atlantic published an important piece on our Secular Rescue program, and central to that article was Lubna Yaseen, a student from Iraq who we helped move to safety in the U.S. It also so happens that she tells her story in full in this month's Free Inquiry magazine, which we have made free to read here.

3 Comments

Why Trump Is Always Right

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
January 18, 2018

It's not a popular thing to admit, but let's face it: Trump is always right. Here's why. 

Crack Our Souls Open

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 18, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The Atlantic has a big feature all about CFI's Secular Rescue program, profiling some of those we have saved, and quoting our boss Robyn Blumner and me in one of my less eloquent moments. Specifically talking about Bangladesh, I told David Robson:

We know there have been, and may still be, hit lists, issued by those who are trying to keep their hands clean, encouraging young radicals to slaughter secularists of their own volition. And one of the worst parts is the callousness of the response from the Bangladeshi government. From the prime minister and other officials, we get several versions of ‘Well, they shouldn’t have been insulting religious beliefs.’ After one student was murdered, officials began to investigate the dead guy to see if he had written anything worth killing him over.

Less Bad

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 17, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

President Trump is super-human. Here's what the doctor who performed his physical examination said:

It is called genetics ... Some people have just great genes. I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old. 

1 Comment

Sticks!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 16, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson is coming back for a second season...five years later. Better late than never. It's coming in the spring of 2019 and titled Cosmos: Possible Worlds. Cue the endless review headlines wondering if it will be the "best of all" said possible worlds. 

Self-Pollination

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 12, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Donald Trump who somehow is President of the United States (lol) told a room full of educated adults with easy access to mass communication that immigrants from Haiti and Africa are from "shithole countries." He denied saying it, which of course is ridiculous because he said it, again, to a room full of educated adults. 

4 Comments

Knight of Swords! No Bombs Will Fly.

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 11, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

You might remember I was away for a couple of weeks in October for a writers' retreat, and one of the other writers there with me was Amanda Little, a science journalist who was working on a book on how the hell we're going to feed 9 billion people. She is incredibly smart and cool, and she's just published a big Bloomberg Businessweek feature on one aspect of her reporting: little AI robots that tend to crops, plant by individual plant, without screwing up the world.  

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RIDDLEculous XVI

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 10, 2018

More funny riddles with a science/critical-thinking angle.

The Arrest and Conviction of ‘Blue Whale Game’ Svengali Filipp Budeykin

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
January 10, 2018

Russian news stories claim that a man named Filipp Budeykin was convicted of involvement in the 'Blue Whale Game.' But that doesn't mean it's real.

Pains and Penalties

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 10, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

In October, I handed the prestigious (and heavy) Balles Prize for Critical Thinking to New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova for her book The Confidence Game. She told us at the time that she was in the midst of researching and writing her next book on the psychology of poker. Apparently she's got a good grasp of it, because she just won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure National Championship, beating almost 300 other players and winning almost $85,000, which is way more than we give with the Balles Prize. Maria is awesome, and she has my congratulations and my envy.

3 Comments

Apathy Paradox

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 09, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

It's amazing that this has to be said, really. And yet, Jen Gunter writing at The Guardian is compelled to instruct us that despite the guidance of Gwyneth and Goop, "Keep the coffee out of your rectum and in your cup." Well, good morning to you too!

Someone in the Past Believed It

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 08, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

It's 1/8/18 which means that in a way it's 1818 and you know what that means...

...I got nothin'. 

Hey check it out! It's CFI board member and all-around great person Leonard Tramiel, covered by the Santa Cruz Sentinel for his address at Skepticamp.

5 Comments

Dieting Myths: New Year’s Resolution Edition

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
January 05, 2018

Losing weight is a perpetual top New Year's resolution. But what about the rest of the year, and how many people are really trying to lose weight? 

1 Comment

A Few Faint Notes of “Shake It Off”

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 05, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Kavin Senapathy, a most excellent skeptic and debunker of anti-GMO myths, often gets called a "shill" for Big Ag and Monsanto. At Slate, she turns the tables and calls out Monsanto for hosting a conference chat between the company's "director of millennial engagement" (oh barf) and Prof. Jordan Peterson. And the problem isn't that stupid "millennial engagement" title (let's discuss biotech, my fellow kids!)...

A Comforting and Substantial Improvement

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 04, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Well we're all being annihilated by the "Bomb Cyclone" aka "Bombogenesis" aka "Best Phil Collins Cover Band Name Ever" and I have the worst headache of my life, so this Heresy will be, much like life, nasty, brutish, and short. 

There is no alien megastructure around Tabby's Star. Much like life, it's just dust. 

The Cosmic Significance of the Millennial’s Place in the Universe

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 03, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center quotes CFI's Benjamin Radford in an article about how the far-right invents pseudo-histories to mythologize white supremacy. ...

1 Comment

Perturbations of the Mind

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 02, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

It's 2018, and everything feels pretty much the same. 

I ended the year with a fun Point of Inquiry episode featuring Kavin Senapathy and Yvette d'Entremont (aka the SciBabe) for a conversation about pseudoscience and misinformation in food and health. I learned things, I laughed, and I heard the word "spatchcocked" for the first time. 

1 Comment